Tsion Tesfaye ’16 has been selected to present her Commitment to Action project “Youth for Ethiopia” in a skills building session at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting that will be held April 1-3 at the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2014 Tesfaye used a Levitt Social Innovation Fellowship to start an academic and leadership program called Youth for Ethiopia (YFE) for high school students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tesfaye explained that “the leadership classes focus on key leadership lessons such as self-awareness, conflict management and team building, while the academic courses focus on essential math and English skills.”
In its first year, 15 students participated in the program. As their final project, they created student clubs that continue to have an impact in their schools. In 2015, Tesfaye expanded the program to include 37 students from three different schools. She also updated the curriculum to focus on preparation for the Ethiopian national exam, meetings with local leaders, volunteering, leadership training, and developing plans for student clubs.
“This recognition (CGI U) serves as an encouragement for the YFE team to continue our hard work in nurturing future leaders,” said Tesfaye.”YFE hopes to become a sustainable project and continue expanding. It hopes to train a new cohort of students from multiple schools this coming summer.”
This year, Tesfaye plans to expand YFE to even more schools and train 60 students. The participants will go through intense training in leadership skills, service learning, and social innovation. In the future, Tesfaye hopes to make YFE a nationwide program and found Youth for Ethiopia Academy, an independent school dedicated to training transformational leaders.